Category: Paddling

Sand Island to Mexican Hat
Friday – Monday, June 16-19, 2017

A colorful sunset over the San Juan River from the boat ramp at Sand Island.

Hot!!! That’s the one word I would use to describe our most recent trip down the upper San Juan River. Even though I didn’t have much time off from work this summer because of our wedding and honeymoon in March, I was able to squeeze in a short river trip on the San Juan from Sand Island to Mexican Hat. While I have floated this stretch of the river a few times before (20132014), it’s still a favorite of mine and I certainly don’t mind repeating it. In the past our group has done this trip during the month of May and both times it turned out to be colder than we had expected, so this year we decided to try going in June for warmer weather, although I was a little concerned about how bad the bugs might be at this time of the year. Who knew that we would be going on this trip during a heat wave in the southwest when we got our permit?

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Sunday, May 21, 2017

Chris floating the Gunnison River through the Dominguez – Escalante National Conservation Area.

Over a month ago I planned a river trip with Jackson and Chris so we could check out a new section of the lower Gunnison River starting at Confluence Park in Delta to the takeout at Escalante Canyon. We had originally planned on going Saturday, but because of a late-season winter storm that came through the area at the end of the week, which really brought down the temperature, we pushed it back to Sunday and hoped it would warm up a little. With the change of plans, Diane and I went hiking in the Gunnison Gorge on the Chukar Trail on Saturday instead.

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Friday – Sunday, August 19-21, 2016

Black Rocks at dusk from our campsite along the Colorado River in Ruby Canyon.

After spending a few days on the San Juan River for the past few years it was beginning to look like I wouldn’t be getting on the river at all this year after some possible plans had fallen through. I really wanted to get at least one river trip in this year, so a couple of month ago Jackson and I planned a weekend trip with our friend Chris on the Colorado River through Ruby and Horsethief Canyons since it’s a great float and very close to home.

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Mexican Hat to Clay Hills Crossing
Tuesday – Saturday, May 12-16, 2015

For the past two years a few friends and I have floated the upper section of the San Juan River from Sand Island to Mexican Hat during the month of May. It’s a very nice section of river, but this year we wanted to do something different, so we attempted to get a permit for the lower section of the San Juan River from Mexican Hat to Clay Hills Crossing. My friend Jackson was lucky in the permit lottery and we received our first choice of dates on the river, plus we were even able to secure our preferred reserved campsite, too. For once our plans came together nicely and easily!

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Sunday, June 1, 2014

I’ve always wanted to try running the Ruby – Horsethief section of the Colorado River between Loma and Westwater in a day. With the Colorado River running over 35,000cfs this weekend, Jackson and I thought it would be a good time to try it. Unfortunately, it really wasn’t as fun of a day trip as we had hoped. We learned a valuable lesson today; for us, this stretch of river is more enjoyable in an inflatable kayak as an overnight trip at lower water levels than as a day trip in fast water. While we didn’t have any issues on the river, it was a little tricky getting through Black Rocks at these water levels with the strange hydraulics and whirlpools. The water level was just too high on the banks making it difficult to stop anywhere and there was a lot of debris floating by the whole time. The current was too strong to get across river quickly and stop in time in the inflatable kayak, plus many of the nice campsites on this stretch of the river were under water. It was hot enough out that it would have been nice to jump out of the boat for a swim, but that was just too dangerous at these flows. I highly doubt I will be doing this section in my inflatable kayak at these water levels again. I am looking forward to a nice weekend float in lower water, though. Here’s a few snapshots from our day on the river.

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